Usain Bolt’s successor may have already surfaced – and she also hails from Jamaica. Briana Lyston handily trounced the competition during the Class 4 (under-13) 200-meter sprint and set a new record with a posted time of 23.72 seconds during the final at the Boys and Girls Championship held on Saturday in Kingston, Jamaica. Her time was almost a whole second less than that of the second-place finisher.
What’s even more impressive is that Lyston is 12 years old. She first attracted attention two years ago –at the tender age of 10 – with her performances at both the Caribbean Union Teachers Championship in Trinidad and Tobago and the TA/Sagicor National Athletic Championships. She broke the record in both the 200 meter and 300 meter races in the Under-11 category Trinidad and Tobago. In fact, her posted time of 42.41 seconds for the 300-meter race was a whole second faster than that of the winning boy her age.
Lyston also ran in the 100-meter race at the Boys and Girls Championship. Again, she left her opponents in the dust; she finished the race in 11.86 seconds, 0.20 seconds faster than the runner-up.
How does Lyston stack up against adult racers? Florence Griffith-Joyner set a world record that still stands at the 1988 Olympics of 21.34 seconds in the 200-meter race. No other woman has even come close to breaking that record. At the 2009 Berlin World Championships, Usain Bolt handily won the 200-meter race and set the world record with a time of 19.19 seconds.
On the other hand, Lyston is actually a more developed runner than Bolt had been at 12. While he displayed phenomenal talent at the same age, he enjoyed all sports and consequently did not start concentrating on running until he was 14. In 2001, Bolt competed in the Boys and Girls Championship and earned a silver medal in the 200 meter-race.
Will Lyston compete in the 2020 Olympics? Barring injury, there’s a good chance she will represent Jamaica at the Olympic Games.